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Published November 6, 1995 | Published
Journal Article Open

Crystallization of opals from polydisperse nanoparticles


We report the reversible formation of crystals of nanoparticles (opals) from solutions of polydisperse gold nanocrystals. The structures are identified by transmission electron microscopy, and are characterized by hexagonal domains of large particles at the center, surrounded radially by successively smaller particles. Simulated annealing Monte Carlo calculations are used to demonstrate that these configurations correspond to minimization of the mesoscopic van der Waals energy of polydisperse particles, and the driving force for ordering is the size dependence of dispersional attractions.

Additional Information

© 1995 The American Physical Society. Received 17 May 1995. W.M.G. would like to thank the National Science Foundation (Grant No. CHE-92-01166) for partial financial support of this research. J.R.H. acknowledges funding from the NSF-NYI program and a Packard Fellowship.

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